October 7, 2015

CRNI Exam Expectations

The Certified Registered Nurse Infusion Examination is a 170 question test that is computer-administered during a 3-hour timeframe. After passage of the test, nurses acquire their certifications as infusion nurses. Eligibility screening is conducted to find qualified candidates. There are many guidelines and restrictions in accordance to the administering of the examination. It is useful for candidates to know what to expect when they arrive on the day of the examination.

Candidates are encouraged to arrive to the testing center early or right on time. Anyone arriving 15 minutes or more late will not be admitted to the testing area and will mix the examination.

Test takers must arrive with two forms of identification in order to be admitted to the testing area. One form of identification must include a photograph and a signature. Acceptable photo identifications include a passport, current military identification, state identification card or current driver’s license. The other form of identification must include the test taker’s signature.

Forms of identification that are not acceptable include: student ID cards, employment ID card and other temporary forms of identification. If a test taker appears with no form of acceptable identification, he or she will miss the examination. After presenting acceptable identification at check-in, test takers are asked to sign a roster to verify signatures.

Various measures are taken to ensure the integrity of the test remains intact and that no nurses are allowed to cheat on the examination. Test takers will be recorded on video with an audio stream during the entire testing period.

Cell phones, cameras, PDAs, tape recorders, laptops, pagers and notes are prohibited from the testing area. Calculators are acceptable for use during the examination, however calculators that feature programmable aspects or include alphabetic keyboards are restricted. Additionally, any calculator that prints is forbidden.
No test taker is allowed to bring guests or visitors to the test site or reception area during the examination. Personal belongings must be kept elsewhere; keys and wallets are the only personal items allowed into the testing area. Test administrators will provide test takers with pencils and scratch paper during the test. (These will be collected at the time of check-out.)

Test takers are prohibited from drinking, smoking or eating during the examination, however they are allowed to take a break during the examination. The time they take for the break does figure into their entire 3-hour timeline for the test.

Interaction between test takers is prohibited and can be determined as cheating.
Misconduct by test takers can result in one’s test scores being revoked. Anyone who creates a disturbance, records questions or attempts to take notes for future use, uses an electronic device or gives or receives help may be found guilty of misconduct.

Once it is time to take the actual examination, test takers sit down to a computer and enter their personal identification numbers. The computer will take a picture of the test taker, and that picture will appear on the individual’s test score report. Immediately prior to the start of the examination, test takers have the option of using a practice exam to help them familiarize themselves with the testing process.
The examination presents one question at a time. Questions may be flagged so a test taker can return to them and review them before completing the test. There is no penalty for guessing, so test takers are urged to answer all questions.

After completion, individuals receive their pass/fail results upon check-out. Passing test takers will receive their official CRNI certification on the first day of the next month, along with an information packet in 6 to 8 weeks.

Nurses who fail the examination, may reapply to take it again with a $50 discount. Individuals can take the test an unlimited number of times as long as the eligibility requirements are met.

CRNI Benefits

Obtaining the certification as a certified infusion nurse (CRNI) puts you in a category of a select few within the United States. Overseen by the Infusion Nurse Certification Corporation, the CRNI certification is the only certification recognized nationally, and it is the only one accredited for infusion nursing.

Infusion nursing deals with several key content areas, but the main jobs of infusion nurses is to oversee the administration of medicine through a needle or catheter to patients and evaluate a patient’s response, along with overseeing technical issues, documenting therapy procedures and providing education for the patient and his or her family. Infusion nursing is one of the most sophisticated nursing specialties.

Infusion nurses work in many different fields including: transfusions, long-term care, geriatrics, pediatrics, home-care, pharmacology and oncology. Their specialized skills are used in pain management, medical therapies, electrolyte maintenance and many other essential tasks.

In order to become a certified infusion nurse, you must first become a licensed, registered nurse and log at least 1,600 hours of infusion experience. Additionally, certification requires passage of a lengthy, in-depth examination that requires several weeks of preparation and an in-depth understanding of all core concepts related to infusion nursing.

There are many reasons to become certified as an infusion nurse. The first, and possibly the most obvious, is to increase one’s professional development. Increasing your knowledge in all 9 core areas in accordance with infusion nursing makes you more versatile, informed, knowledgeable and prepared for all duties you may experience as a nurse. Certification also demonstrates your unwavering commitment to your career specialty and your overall desire to become the best nurse you can be. The pursuit of more knowledge indicates to others you care about your profession. Additionally, certification can validate your knowledge and experience to your peers, colleagues and superiors.

Another reason to consider certification is the boost in income that it brings. Statistics show that most infusion nurses who become certified can increase their incomes by nearly $10,000 within the first 1 or 2 years. More professional opportunities are available to certified infusion nurses, and promotions are awarded to those with higher credentials, experience and knowledge.

Certification (and the need to recertify every 3 years) keeps infusion nurses up to date about emerging trends, technology and methods. The world of medicine is expanding rapidly. As technology increases and research answers new questions, the infusion world opens up even more. Certified infusion nurses are forced to remain on the cutting edge of technology, so they are the first to learn of new techniques, theories and other practices related to their specialties.

Infusion nurses who have acquired certification may use the CRNI designation on their stationary, name badge, business cards and other identifying items. The credentials can earn you respect and opportunities that you might not otherwise acquire without people knowing about your skills and experience.

Networking opportunities are also available to certified infusion nurses with the CRNI certification. National meetings are held every year where professionals meet to discuss the specialty. Networking provides CRNIs with opportunities to find new professional positions, advance in their careers and locate colleagues with which to discuss the specialty.

CRNI Career Opportunities

As a certified infusion nurse with the CRNI certification, you have many opportunities to advance your career. Management, administrative, educational, consulting, consultant and specialty positions may be available to you depending on your geographic region and our career goals. The commitment and the advanced knowledge you possess with your certification qualifies you for many different career options.

Management positions may be available to you that were out of your reach previously. In nearly every healthcare facility, someone manages or oversees the methods, techniques and policies that apply to infusion nursing. Many facilities have departments that specialize in infusion or the administration of medicine. Department chairs focus the mission of the department, policies and other important aspects pertaining to the overall work to enhance patient care.

Administrative roles may open up as career choices for certified infusion nurses. Positions that deal with the establishment of policies for patient care and education are suitable for certified infusion nurses. Additionally, facilities often need experts to revise or develop manuals that work with many departments to meet the needs of patients concerning their rights about therapy, treatment and medicine administration. Infusion nurses are well-versed in this type of patient/provider relationship communication, which makes them excellent candidates for positions like these. Often, CRNIs work in consulting roles to hospitals or other facilities that cannot afford a full-time staff member to help adapt, create and revise their policies concerning patient education and enhancing provider/patient relationships.

Educational positions are ones to consider if you are a CRNI. Not only do you have the knowledge to provide information for in-service programs and seminars, but you have the experience to instruct and direct others. National meetings, conventions and programs have needs for instructors and presenters. Additionally, within nursing programs, there is also a great need for infusion nurses to instruct classes that deal specifically with infusion practices, theories, technology and the education of patients and their families. Other qualifications may be required to teach classes, but many CRNIs find themselves on the teaching side of the classroom, helping others learn more about their specialty.

Many CRNIs find themselves specializing further within a particular field of medicine, such as oncology, pediatrics or geriatrics. The credentials allow them an opportunity to focus on their interests and fully enhance their abilities in particular fields of medicine. Several fields of medicine have increased needs for infusion nurses, so positions are readily available for nurses wishing to become more specialized and to focus their careers in a more pointed direction.

CRNIs looking for more flexible schedules or increased pay ranges may look at temporary or highly specialized positions. Many clinics that work with orthopedics or cosmetic surgery hire infusion nurses to work on specific days or during specific hours when surgeries are scheduled. CRNIs may work for several clinics or facilities and make premium salaries by doing so. Flexible schedules are an enhanced benefit. Most infusion nurses who work in hospitals or other health care facilities sometimes endure grueling schedules that are not conducive to family life or having children.

CRNI Examination Eligibility Requirements

In order to become a certified infusion nurse, a nurse must take the Certified Registered Nurse Infusion (CRNI) examination. Infusion therapy includes the administering of medicine through intravenous methods, along with other methods including intramuscular injections and epidural routes. The medicine may be given to a patient through a catheter or needle. Like many professional examinations, certain eligibility requirements must be met prior to a nurse taking the CRNI examination. Guidelines include professional experience, education, licensing and application.

CRNI Examination Eligibility RequirementsThe Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation (INCC) administers the examination and strives to ensure that only qualified candidates take the examination. Research has shown the company that experienced professionals perform better on the examination than those who are still acquiring professional experience and knowledge.

The CRNI examination eligibility requirements include:

  • Applicants must be licensed as a Registered Nurse in the United States or Canada. The license must be current and active, and the license cannot be restricted in any way. Provisional licenses or suspended licenses do not qualify. International candidates may qualify with additional requirements.
  • Candidates for testing eligibility must have completed at least 1,600 hours of experience in infusion therapy as a licensed RN within the previous two years of application for examination. All of the hours are not required to include bedside care. Experience hours may be in administration, clinical practice, nursing education or research.
  • Applicants are not required to have a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN). Licensing is required, but this educational factor is not an eligibility requirement.
  • Candidates must submit a completed CRNI examination application form. The form includes a “CRNI Examination Clinical Practice Documentation and Affirmation Form.” This form must be completed and accompany the application. A special accommodations form is also attached to the application form. Any candidates who require special accommodations due to a disability or other issue must fill out the form in order to his or her needs met.
  • Applicants must submit adequate fees to cover the application cost. The fees must be paid for by cashier’s check or money order.
  • Candidates must send a copy of their RN license or other documentation to prove their licenses are in good standing with the state in which they work. If a copy of one’s license is unavailable, information detailing one’s current license status directly from the state board may suffice.
  • Eligible applicants will receive notification of their eligibility in the form of a letter 3 to 4 weeks after their applications have been processed. Notification of upcoming test dates will be sent to eligible applicants approximately a month prior to the exam dates. The notification will contain a unique identification number that must be used to schedule an examination.
  • Eligible applicants may schedule an examination online any day of the week, 24 hours per day. Exams may be scheduled by telephone via the toll-free telephone number on from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

CRNI Test Preparation

The CRNI examination is the last step to acquiring an Infusion Nurse certification. The Infusion Nurse Certification Corporation (INCC) recommends that all nurses who take the examination study several weeks in advance. While the concepts are not difficult for one trained in the field, the everyday duties of nurses do not always cover all aspects of the examination.

The CRNI examination consists of 170 questions that must be answered within 3 hours. Officially, only 150 questions of the 170 are used to determine your score. The other 20 questions are beta questions that are being tested for future use. Test takers may flag questions they would like to go back and review prior to completing the examination. Additionally, the INCC urges test takers to answer ALL questions, as individuals are not penalized for incorrect answers.

Specific study materials are recommended by the INCC in order to fully prepare for the examination. The INCC has compiled a comprehensive study guide for test taker’s use. It’s called “The CRNI Examination Preparation Guide and Practice Questions.” The guide gives a full description and breakdown of the content areas that are included in the exam. Additionally, the study guide prepares students by guiding them through test specifications, item types and complexity levels, abbreviations used in the examination, math calculation requirements and key concepts. The guide also provides nurses with 100 sample questions that may be used for quizzing or studying. Answers and rationale are provided along with the questions.

Another INCC-specific product that is available to test takers include the “CD-Rom Preparatory Review Program” which is a recording of a 9-hour presentation made during the 2006 INS Annual Meeting. Several PowerPoint presentations and other lessons are provided on the discs that can help a nurse prepare for the examination.
Four other texts are recommended as resources, along with three core references and six additional books available from various outlets.

Content areas for the CRNI examination are very specific. They cover nine clinical areas important to infusion therapy. All content areas are important to the job duties of the infusion nursing practice. The content areas include:

  • Exactly 22 percent of the test (33 questions) covers Technology and Clinical Applications. This portion of the exam tests nurses’ knowledge of devices, supplies, patient care planning, ways to discontinue therapy and other important subjects.
  • Pharmacology accounts for 12.7 percent (or 19 questions) of the examination. Pharmacology refers to evaluation of a patient’s reaction to therapy, assessment of patients for drug-specific information, ways to educate patients and others about therapy, among other topics.
  • 14 percent (or 21 questions) of the test examines Fluid and Electrolyte Balance. The content area covers assessment of patients, selection of supplies and equipment for the therapy and medicine, initiation of interventions and other important aspects to the subject.
  • Infection prevention and control is covered by 21 questions (14 percent) in the examination. Assessment of patient for likelihood of infection, infection control practices, documentation and other aspects of infection control are covered.
  • 9.3 percent (14 questions) of the test evaluate the test taker’s knowledge of Antineoplastic/Biologic Therapy. Propriety of therapy, education of others and maintenance of established antineoplastic/biologic administration practices are among the core content of these questions.
  • Special Populations accounts for 9.3 percent (14 questions) of the examination.
  • Parenteral Nutrition is 9.3 percent (14 questions) of the test.
  • 9.3 percent (14 questions) of the examination pertain to Transfusion Therapy.